30 Apr 2003

Tonga's Human Rights and Democracy Movement to consider options over paper ban

5:03 pm on 30 April 2003

Tonga's Human Rights and Democracy Movement's Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss a plan of action over the government's ban on the Taimi O Tonga newspaper.

The movement's spokesperson, Lopeti Senituli says it will discuss three options for action against the latest ban declaring the Auckland produced newspaper a prohibited document in Tonga.

The publisher, Kalafi Moala is legally challenging the ban, imposed earlier this month by the government in a Privy Council Ordinance.

It was brought in the same day that Tonga's Supreme Court had declared three previous bans unlawful.

Mr Senituli says the Government's action leaves the movement with three options.

"To uphold the Supreme court's decision would be to commit an offence against the new ordinance, the punishment is a 1000 Pa'anga fine or two years imprisonment. The second option is to abide by the provisions of the new ordinance and for us to do that would be to virtually admit that the judiciary of Tonga is impotent. Now the third and final option would be to lobby the Nobles and people's representatives to rescind the ordinance."

Lopeti Senituli